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New York's Statue of Liberty Observation Deck to Reopen


The United States Government has announced that tourists will once again be allowed to climb inside the Statue of Liberty - all the way up to her famous crown. The small viewing deck has been closed ever since the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001. Eight years later, on America's Independence Day (Fourth of July), the crown observation deck will be re-opened to the public.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable statues in the world - viewed as a beacon of hope by more than a century's worth of immigrants passing through New York in search of a better life. It is also a major tourist attraction.

But ever since the 2001 terrorist attacks at New York's World Trade Center, a small part of this structure - Lady Liberty's crown - has been closed to the public.

Due to security and safety concerns, the crown has been off limits to visitors for nearly 8 years. But on July 4, known as U.S. Independence Day, the Crown will once again be open to the public.

Darren Boch works for the National Park Service which oversees operation of the Statue of Liberty. "On America's Birthday this July 4th 2009 - eight years later - we are very excited about offering the opportunity once again to the American People and to people all over the world to visit the crown of the statue of Liberty," he said.

A journey to the top is not for everyone. First, visitors have to climb more than 200 steep steps through the center of the statue.

Then, when you get to the top, the experience is cramped and the views a little limited, but that has not stopped people from trying to book their place in line in advance.

"There have been a number of phone calls and e-mails and communications to the National Parks service all asking us how can we be one of the first people to get up to the crown," Boch said.

Officials say demand has been so great that their Website froze the day it was announced the crown was to reopen. But they also forsee disappointment.

The number of people who can climb to the crown will be limited. Details have yet to be finally decided, but visitors are expected to be limited to about 150 visitors a day.

Liberty Island currently gets 3.6 million visitors a year, so even though it is a climb, Liberty's Crown is likely to be one of the most sought after tickets in town come July 4th.

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